A new survey finds Saanich residents feel less safe when using local roads, a perception likely shaped by incidents like the December 2017 collision on Ash Road that has left now 12-year-old girl Leila Bui in an unresponsive state.

A new survey finds Saanich residents feel less safe when using local roads, a perception likely shaped by incidents like the December 2017 collision on Ash Road that has left now 12-year-old girl Leila Bui in an unresponsive state.

VIDEO: Lawyer says SUV that hit Leila Bui was going 53 km/h at point of impact

Dash-cam footage shows moments just before Saanich girl was struck

The defence lawyer for the North Saanich woman charged in relation to a crash that left an 11-year-old girl severely debilitated and non-responsive, told the courts on Tuesday during final submissions that the evidence presented over the past week shows she was going close to 53 km/h at the point of impact.

Tenessa Nikirk is charged with one count of dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing bodily harm after Leila Bui was hit on Dec. 20, 2017 while in a crosswalk at the intersection of Ash Road and Torquay Drive in Saanich while on her way to school.

Tom Morino said her speed was not a departure from the norm citing an engineering report that showed the usual speed of vehicles travelling through that intersection was around 50 km/h.

At the time of the crash, a text message came in on Nikirk’s phone but no evidence was presented to show whether she had opened it or not, along with no evidence to show if she was using the hands-free feature on her device.

RELATED: Court hears of motorist’s erratic driving before girl hit in Vancouver Island crosswalk

“Even if you accept she’s got her phone is her hands, she’s pushing buttons as she’s driving down the road that is — in my respectful submission — not taking it to the level of dangerous,” said Morino, suggesting a momentary distraction was a better classification.

Jess Patterson, Crown prosecutor, asserts that Nikirk was engaged in a texting conversation prior to the crash because she was responding quickly to the messages. Nikirk’s phone was not seized at the time of the crash.

RELATED: One year later, life is much different in Saanich for the Bui family

“Even if your honour were to accept that [Nikirk] was travelling the speed limit when she entered the crosswalk, that doesn’t mean it’s not dangerous,” said Patterson.

Judge Mayland McKimm said he could see Morino’s point. At one point wondering aloud if holding a phone is “really any different than changing the radio or navigation [controls],” but adding that if someone is walking across the road, leisurely, in front of traffic — “that doesn’t mean you can just run them down because you’re travelling the speed limit.”

RELATED: Velocity expert testifies SUV sped up to 90 km/h ahead of crash that left Saanich girl unresponsive

Last week an expert in calculating the velocity of vehicles from video described how the SUV Nikirk was driving — which was caught on dash-cam footage — accelerated to more than 90 km/h as it passed another vehicle, heading towards the intersection where Bui was struck.

Dash-cam footage released to the media shows a dark coloured SUV passing on a solid yellow line at the six second mark and driving up the road in front of the two vehicles. Almost 50 seconds later the driver comes to the intersection and the SUV can be seen parked on the side of the road as people from nearby houses rush to the scene.

Court also heard from a number of witnesses who recounted Nikirk’s erratic driving just before the crash. Steven Kachanoski witnessed the crash and told the courts he watched the little girl get thrown towards his car before sliding, on her back, and coming to rest next to his driver’s side door.

Myla Bui snuggles with her sister Leila.(GoFundMe)

Samantha Etzel also testified last week that she was driving a little slower than usual that day because there was frost on the roads. She says the driver of a black or dark SUV was following her so closely she couldn’t see the front of the car, adding that she watched the driver “constantly looking up and down as if they were texting.”

Leila Bui has been in a non-responsive state since the morning she was struck on her walk to school. Now 13, the young girl’s family remains hopeful – but says their lives are changed irrevocably.

“It happened so fast and it changed all of our lives,” Kairry Nguyen, Bui’s mother, said through tears last week. “Our little girl, she’s there but she’s still not there.”

The next expected court date is to fix a date for verdict.

With files from Nina Grossman



kendra.crighton@blackpress.ca

Follow us on Instagram
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Sandy Carmichael is a Goldstream Gazette 2021 Local Hero as Seniors’ Champion. (Don Denton/Black Press Media)
Worker bee returns to volunteer: Sandy Carmichael a fixture at Langford Royal Canadian Legion

Sandy Carmichael is the 2021 recipient of the Seniors’ Champion Award

The It’s Critical campaign has raised $5.89 million towards its $7 million goal to expand critical care capacity at Victoria’s Royal Jubilee Hospital. (Black Press Media file photo)
Critical care improvements make the list with Greater Victoria shoppers

Save-On-Foods pledges $300,000 to Victoria Hospitals Foundation’s It’s Critical campaign

West Shore Parks and Recreation facilities face a challenging future in terms of funding, due to reduced operations throughout the pandemic. (Black Press Media file photo)
West Shore Parks and Recreation faces challenging future

West Shore Parks and Recreation Society submits 2021 budget request to owner municipalities

Approximately 100 people gathered in Centennial Square Saturday afternoon to listen to speakers decry COVID-19 restrictions. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
PHOTOS: Victoria residents protest masks, COVID-19 restrictions

Approximately 100 people gathered in Centennial Square Saturday afternoon

Saskatoon resident liajah Pidskalny poses with his bike near the University of Victoria after putting on thousands of kilometres to raise awareness of the overdose and mental health crisis. (Courtesy Iliajah Pidskalny)
Saskatoon cyclist winds up mental health and overdose awareness ride in Victoria

Iliajah Pidskalny braves prairie winter conditions to get word out to communities

Abbotsford’s Kris Collins turned to TikTok out of boredom when the provincial COVID-19 lockdown began in March 2020. She now has over 23 million followers on the video app. Photo: Submitted
Internet famous: Abbotsford’s Kris Collins is a TikTok comedy queen

Collins has found surprise stardom alone with a phone

A Vancouver restaurant owner was found guilty of violating B.C.’s Human Rights Code by discriminating against customers on the basis of their race. (Pixabay)
Vancouver restaurant owner ordered to pay $4,000 to customers after racist remark

Referring to patrons as ‘you Arabs’ constitutes discrimination under B.C.’s Human Rights Code, ruling deems

Nanaimo children’s author and illustrator Lindsay Ford’s latest book is ‘Science Girl.’ (Photo courtesy Lindsay Ford)
B.C. children’s writer encourages girls to pursue the sciences in new book

Lindsay Ford is holding a virtual launch for latest book, ‘Science Girl’

Pig races at the 145th annual Chilliwack Fair on Aug. 12, 2017. Monday, March 1, 2021 is Pig Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Feb. 28 to March 6

Pig Day, Canadian Bacon Day and Grammar Day are all coming up this week

Staff from the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, passersby, RCMP and Nanaimo Fire Rescue carried a sick 300-kilogram steller sea lion up the steep bluff at Invermere Beach in north Nanaimo in an attempt to save the animal’s life Thursday. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Rescue Centre)
300-kilogram sea lion muscled up from B.C. beach in rescue attempt

Animal dies despite efforts of Nanaimo marine mammal rescue team, emergency personnel and bystanders

Doctors and counsellors warn of an increase in panic attacks, anxiety, depression and suicide ideas between ages 10 to 14, in Campbell River. ( Black Press file photo)
Extended pandemic feeding the anxieties of B.C.’s youth

Parents not sure what to do, urged to reach out for help

Gina Adams as she works on her latest piece titled ‘Undying Love’. (Submitted photo)
‘Toothless’ the kitty inspires B.C. wood carver to break out the chainsaw

Inspired by plight of a toothless cat, Gina Adams offers proceeds from her artwork to help animals

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson presents bill to delay B.C.’s budget as late as April 30, and allow further spending before that, B.C. legislature, Dec. 8, 2020. (Hansard TV)
How big is B.C.’s COVID-19 deficit? We’ll find out April 20

More borrowing expected as pandemic enters second year

The first of 11 Dash 8 Q400 aircraft's have arrived in Abbotsford. Conair Group Inc. will soon transform them into firefighting airtankers. (Submitted)
Abbotsford’s Conair begins airtanker transformation

Aerial firefighting company creating Q400AT airtanker in advance of local forest fire season

Most Read